Floating Wind Energy

Nowadays, all the support structures for offshore wind turbines are directly mounted on the seabed. However, the costs of such foundations become prohibitive in deep waters. Typically beyond 50 metres depth, an attractive option is to place the wind turbine on a floating support structure that is moored to the seabed. The installation of wind turbines in deep seas presents many advantages: winds are often stronger and steadier in these regions, yielding to more energy produced, and installation costs can also be reduced. Today, floating wind turbines are not yet installed on a commercial scale, as their development presents many challenges.

The research group is specifically looking into understanding the effect of complex fluid-structure interactions on the design, dynamics, and performance of the system. To this end, we develop high-fidelity computational fluid and structural dynamics models that are coupled in order to simulate nonlinear fluid-structure interactions for the turbine and floater. We use both finite-volume and finite-element based models.  

Illustration of Hywind Scotland pilot wind farm. Source: Statoil.
High-fidelity numerical simulation of the dynamics of the OC5 semi-submersible subjected to waves. From the MSc thesis of Irene Rivera Arreba.

Dr. Ir. Axelle Viré